OUR TEAM

Where the Passion Begins

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MASTER SANCHEZ

Master Sanchez holds the Rank of 9th Degree Black Belt and has been practicing and teaching martial arts for over 40 years. He teaches private lessons to school owners from Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Mr. Sanchez is an Air Force veteran who reenlisted in the service after 9/11. He taught military personnel on his first and second enlistment. Upon his reenlistment Mr. Sanchez went on to cross train as an Air Force medic. He is also a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician and has studied with the American College Of Sports Medicine. He has designed programs that address the three major components of health and fitness – cardio/respiratory endurance, muscular strength/endurance and range of motion. Mr. Sanchez believes in developing fit, well rounded martial artists.  Master Sanchez partners with Ellington Youth Services bringing martial arts awareness programs to the community.

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ALLY HASTILLO

Ally began her martial arts journey at American Karate at the age of 8.  She currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. Her favorite weapons are Nunchakus and Bo Staff. Ally excels academically, maintaining Dean's List at Central Connecticut State University where she is a Finance Major. Ally has elected an accelerated schedule for her Degree with an estimated graduation date of December 2022. Ally is a fantastic role model and enjoys working with all our students and seeing them grow as martial artists and individuals. In her free time she enjoys fishing, hiking, and music. 

EMILY DURHAM

Emily holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt, and is our Program Director at AK. At 17, she became an instructor at American Karate and taught at the school while studying History at UConn, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the university. She then received her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in 2013 and accepted a position teaching Social Studies at Manchester High School. Emily credits many of her achievements to the life lessons that were instilled in her through her martial arts training and looks to share these life lessons and effect change in the lives of others.

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EDONA SELIMAJ

Edona began her martial arts training at American Karate when she was 9 years old. She currently holds the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt. Edona's favorite weapon is Nunchaku, and she also loves perfecting her sky high kicks. Edona enjoys spending time with her friends and family and utilizing her marital arts skills to help her excel in other sports, including her favorite, lacrosse. 

Mr. Christian started his martial arts journey at 6 years old. He earned his Black Belt at Atwater Martial Arts, his instructor  being within Mr. Sanchez's lineage of Black Belts. He is passionate about teaching Karate, Mixed Martial Arts, and Tricking. His favorite weapon is bo staff. He loves to help others grow and achieve their goals inside and outside the Karate School. 

CHRISTIAN MATTHEWS